Tag Archives: santogold



santigoldIt’s official – Social Committee pulled through and got Santigold, aka Santi White ’97, at the last minute.*

Santi blew up in the past year with the release of her genre-bending (formerly**) eponymous album Santogold, and has since toured with Bjork, M.I.A., and Coldplay, and collaborated with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye, and David Byrne.

Her success as Santigold isn’t really part of the recent Wesleyan/Brooklyn alumni musical clusterfuck we’ve come to know and love – she basically hasn’t been back here since she graduated. But it looks like you can forget whatever reservations we thought she had about Wesleyan – she’s making quite a return to her alma mater as a Spring Fling headliner.

clipse1Rap duo/brothers Clipse have been making hits since 2001 – I remember because “When the Last Time” and “Grindin’” were big deals at my junior high “prom”.

But don’t let that dissuade you – their rhymes are fresh and fueled by The Neptunes’ beats, and they’re about to drop a new album, Till the Casket Drops, late this summer, which will probably have at least a few inescapable summer party jams we’ll get to hear live before they’re all over the radio by September.

11620-the-supreme-genius-of-king-khan-and-the-shrinesKing Khan has been called the “Maharaja of Soul”, not only because he plays a musical genre discongruous to his heritage as a brown person, but because he fucking rocks. Formerly of the Montreal-based garage-rock outfit “The Spaceshits” and an on-and-off collaborator in the doo-wop/punk duo “The King Khan & BBQ Show“,  Khan went to Berlin and started up “The Supreme Genius of King Khan and His Sensational Shrines” a few years back.

They somewhat insufficiently describe themselves as a “psychedelic-soul-big-band” – by all accounts, these guys need to be experienced, not just heard. Everyone I know who’s seen them has been ecstatic about their live shows, even before they knew the Shrines were coming to Spring Fling and figured they’d have to feign enthusiasm.

So, soul/punk/madness from King Khan, Clipse’s dope rhymes, and Santigold’s triumphant return to Wes – overall an excellent lineup. GJ Social Committee!

Santigold at Central Park SummerStage last year:

Clipse at the Knitting Factory:

And King Khan & the Shrines live in Phoenix last year:

Check out the Spring Fling players on Myspace:

*This information is directly from the Social Committee, it is true.

**FYI: Santigold, formerly known as Santogold. She changed from the “o” to an “i” in February this year because a jeweler/entrepreneur already named Santo Gold threatened to sue her for being more famous than him. True story, change it on your iTunes.

Wesleyan lights up Huffington Post

In case you forgot why we rule, allow yourself to be reminded by this Wesleyan-centric article, The Awesome-ization of Wesleyan University,” published yesterday on The Huffington Post.

President-elect Barack Obama was the key note speaker at the 2008 Wesleyan Commencementpassing on valuable advice…

…and blessing a new crop of Brooklyn bands! 2008 brought MGMT and Santogold to the pop culture limelight and 2009 has the chance to be an even bigger year for the New England university. Fader Magazine, the current de facto guide to cool, recently profiled the university’s music scene and the numerous internet buzz bands nurtured by co-ed dorms and naked parties.

Not to say that the influx of Wesleyan bloodlines into the experimental music scene should come as a surprise. This is the same university that previously boasted the best acid labs in the country, employs experimental jazz pioneer Anthony Braxton as a professor, and is the alma mater of hip hop impresario Bobbito Garcia.

The article also highlights four Wesleyan bands to look out for in 2009 complete with sample tracks: Boy Crisis, Amazing Baby, Bear Hands, and Francis and the Lights. (Plus two songs by honorable mentions Bottle Up and Go and Das Racist.) Thanks for the free PR Huffington!

[edit 11:15 am, Sheek]
FYI, the article’s by Steve Pristin ’06, of ISmellLikeMoney.com.

Aural Wes On Fader: Wesleyan’s Breakout Bands

Last week Fader posted a condensed conversation between Wes alum editor Eric Ducker ’00 and Aural Wes editor Anna Wiener ’09 in the online column “A Rational Conversation Between Two Adults“, about campus reactions to the off-campus success of Wes-affiliated music acts.

Topics discussed: the MGMT/Management generational divide; more MGMT lore; Santogold‘s apparent ambivalence towards Wesleyan; the Brooklyn/Wes connection; and the status of up-and-coming acts like Amazing Baby, Bear Hands, Boy Crisis, Francis & the Lights, and Das Racist.

The transcript follows:

Eric Ducker: How aware are Wesleyan students that two of the biggest success stories in emerging music this year went to Wesleyan?

Anna Wiener: I think students here are very aware of it. There’s a funny divide between older students who have ties to some of the people in these bands, and the younger kids, who probably listened to MGMT and Santogold at their high school proms and thought it was really rad that their future school was tied to these artists.

ED: When did MGMT graduate?

AW: 2005. They were still something of a presence when I arrived in 2006, playing a couple shows on campus before they got signed. 2008 (last year’s seniors) was the last class to overlap with them. So for some people, they’re part of Wesleyan lore, and for others, they’re Andrew and Ben, those friends who wore shoelaces around their heads and danced in snowsuits to their iPod.

ED: They were called The Management when they were still in school, right?

AW: Yup. I think some people saw The Management to MGMT transition as a turning point, indicating their success (or their “selling out,” depending on who you talk to).

ED: How do most people regard their success now?

AW: There are definitely mixed reactions. I think the most telling is that the kids who used to listen to The Management—the alternative kids, the Eclectic kids, the boys who wore girl pants because they weren’t selling skinny jeans yet—no longer play MGMT songs at parties, and suddenly kids who you would never have expected to be into psychedelic synth pop are blasting “Time to Pretend” at keg parties. MGMT played a show last year right around the time that “Kids” was hugely popular, and it was a huge deal. It was in the largest venue on campus, tickets sold out very quickly and a lot of the audience were freshmen, class of 2011. There are equal parts pride and resentment, I guess you could say.

ED: That makes sense. When the Vampire Weekend album came out in the beginning of this year we did a story on the reaction from the people who ran Columbia University’s radio station. It was a mix of bemusement, happiness and mild putdowns. I imagine as the year has gone on the putdowns have become less mild.

AW: I think that’s to be expected. And it’s especially accurate at Wesleyan, This is a place with a lot of musicians and a lot of people who really care about music, who are really paying attention. Even here, there’s a similar reaction to Vampire Weekend—they played Wesleyan in 2007 and it was a really fun, small show in the dining room of Eclectic. Then they blew up, were playing Summerstage in New York, etc, and people were like, Enough already, let’s move on.

ED: When it was The Management, were they a real band or was it a silly project of theirs?

AW: The Management were a real band. Apparently they played some festivals in Connecticut, at NYU, and in Memphis and South Carolina. Also they played Battle of the Bands, and performed at our annual Spring Fling with GZA. It definitely wasn’t just a silly project. They had an EP by 2003/4, I’m pretty sure, and there was a performance in 2005 called “The Management vs. God” that was held in the Wesleyan chapel during prospective students weekend that I believe was part of either Andrew or Ben’s senior thesis. It was a whole theatrical debacle, from what I’ve heard.

ED: Details?

AW: Debacle might be the wrong word. Maybe “explosion,” in the positive sense. Lots of costumed monsters (?) crawling around the chapel, over the audience, hanging from the balcony. They also had a scoreboard at the front of the chapel, GOD vs. The Home Team.

ED: Who won?

AW: I think the Management won the battle, but not the war.

ED: Sounds about right. Are the feelings towards Santogold different, since there is so much more distance in terms of time?

AW: I think so, actually. Although there is some negativity there, especially amongst people who book shows on campus. She’s turned down several offers to play here, including an offer to play Spring Fling, which tends to draw fairly big names. There is also a difference between MGMT and Santogold in that MGMT were launched right out of Wesleyan, whereas with Santogold the connection seems much thinner.

ED: What are the current feelings on Amazing Baby, who are even more recent graduates?

AW: You know, Amazing Baby doesn’t have a lot of buzz on campus yet. We’re trying to bring them to play a show here next semester, so maybe then. People are following two other bands a lot more closely, Bear Hands and Boy Crisis. I think Amazing Baby still have that feeling of being our best kept secret.

ED: They already have a pretty respected publicity company and are getting more press, I’m not sure how longer that secret is going to be around.

AW: Right. It’s funny, actually—they’re all over the place in Brooklyn (my hometown), but not so much at Wesleyan, although it is spreading here. I would have thought that trajectory would be reversed.

ED: Did they exist at Wesleyan? Or did they come about post-graduation?

AW: I’m not sure. Their members are before my time, but I’m pretty sure they did not exist as Amazing Baby here. Simon O’Connor and Will Berman (of Amazing Baby and MGMT, respectively) were in a band together called Monsters of Rock, but I don’t think Will Roan (now of Amazing Baby) was involved. It’s possible they played in different combinations and under different monikers.

ED: It would seem to me that now would feel like an exciting time to be an aspiring musician at Wesleyan. It must feel like success, in some form, is a possibility. Aside from the bands we discussed there’s more—Shy Child, Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls, The Mobius Band, etc. When I was there, all people could really look to were the bassist of Girls vs. Boys, Atom & His Package and Dar Williams.

AW: Definitely. And there does seem to be some camaraderie amongst emerging Wesleyan groups. MGMT and Boy Crisis have played shows together in New York, and it sort of feels like they’re pulling their friends—who, don’t get me wrong, are fully deserving of success themselves —into the fold. When MGMT played that big show here last year, they had Bear Hands open for them. And Bear Hands had played a bunch of very successful shows on campus already, but their opening for MGMT was a great way to get exposure amongst social groups that may or may not be showing up regularly to concerts on campus. Not to mention that Wesleyan somewhat notoriously feeds straight into Brooklyn. So some of it is just being in the right place at the right cultural moment.

ED: Who’s your favorite Wesleyan alum group?

AW: This is hard. It’s maybe a draw between Bear Hands and Francis & the Lights. But I have my fingers crossed for Das Racist, I think they’re the next breakthrough artists from Wesleyan.

ED: Do you still listen to Oracular Spectacular?

AW: Only in the privacy of my bedroom, shades drawn, lights off, headphones on. That being said, if “Electric Feel” comes on at a party, everybody is going to dance. And if “Kids” comes on, the floor might cave. Haters here really only talk the talk, but when the opportunity presents itself, they’re going to get down like anyone else.

ED: It’s true. I talk a lot of shit about Michael Bay [Class of 1986], but I saw the shit out of Transformers. And I saw both of the National Treasure movies from Jon Turtletaub [Class of 1985], which I liked better than Transformers.

Aural Wes: meta
Fader: Reaction to Wesleyan’s Breakout Bands

Santogold with Jay-Z on B.I.G. Soundtrack

Santogold gets some street cred by collaborating on Jay-Z’s new Kanye-produced track “Brooklyn (Go Hard)“, which is Track 7 on the soundtrack of Notorious, the upcoming Biggie biopic. The hook samples Santi’s “Shove It“, and she adds a verse towards the end.

An interesting cross-pollination of traditionally hipsta- and gangsta-identified BK neighborhoods, though sadly it seems that nobody is available to rep Brooklyn in song south of Prospect Park.

NME on Wesleyan: a "Nest of Noise"

The latest periodical to cover Wesleyan as a hotbed of entertainment talent is British music magazine NME, which devoted a two-page spread this week to investigating our “nest of noise” which “has spawned artists such as MGMT, Amazing Baby and Santogold – and there’s a lot more to follow.”

It was clear that NME had a thing for this school and its products (for good reason), but damn, way to blow up Wesleyan’s uniquely hip legacy!

From all that’s visible from the linked page, there’s a picturesque photo of North College, a map indicating the distance between Middletown and New York City, a quote from Ben Goldwasser of MGMT about Wesleyan’s instrumental place in the chronology of his life, some pictures of Wes-graduated acts, and an inset about British schools which have supposedly reached a comparable level cool.

If anybody’s got their hands on a copy of this week’s issue and can send us a scan (is NME even distributed here?), it’d be much appreciated.

[edit, 10/24 11:30 am] The Wes homepage put up a full-page scan of the article, read the whole thing here.

It’s pretty effusive about the Wesleyan students’ creative potential, though some details are somewhat inaccurate – “The place is strewn with flyers advertising bands, films, plays and other artistic endeavours cooked up by bored students trying to entertain themselves in this largely rural part of the world.” Um, right.

Media relations director David Pesci calls Wes a “crucible of creativity”, where live music permeates the air in warmer months, and due credit is given to past professors of experimental music and ethnomusicology for building up the Music Department.

Santogold and members of MGMT recount their college experiences, and shout-outs are given to recent/current campus favorites Red Wire Black Wire, Bear Hands, and Bottle up and Go as examples of the wide range of musical styles formed here. Overall, not bad publicity at all.

NME: A Different Class
Full Article PDF

A Conversation With Santogold & Debbie Harry

This week’s 4oth Anniversary edition of New York Magazine celebrates Wesleyan alumna Santi White ’97 (Santogold) and Debbie Harry as they discuss the New York music scene, manipulative record labels and hipsters.
Debbie Harry gives a special shout out to Wesleyan’s own MGMT:

NY: What’s your favorite band right now?
S: I really enjoyed Vampire Weekend’s record.
DH: I’ve been listening to a lot of songs by MGMT.

Other interview highlights:

NY Mag: So you still get out and catch a lot of current bands?
DH: I try, yeah. I mean, it’s not easy, but I drag my sorry old ass out.
S: I feel the same way.
NY: Do you think that hipsters evolved from punks?
DH: Hipsters?
S: It’s what everyone calls young guys now.
DH: Really? I just want to say grunge.
S: Hipsters, honestly, there’s nothing there! Everyone wears the exact same thing. My song “L.E.S. Artistes” is about fakers, people who are self-proclaimed artists but really just go out in the Lower East Side and Williamsburg to be scenesters.
DH: The point of being punk was to be an asshole and not to be put down for it.
S: You mean like embarrassing yourself?

[Edit by LauraAlyse] See the magazine’s coverage on 2 other alumni here

Wesleyan in Converse’s Drive Thru

Left to right: Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Santogold, and Pharrell Williams

Converse is celebrating a century of its existence with an ad campaign, “My Drive Thru“, that’s currently assaulting major cities, featuring an array of hip artists in standoffish poses – 3/17 of whom, Santogold and Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT, are Wes alums.

Left to right: Ben Goldwasser (MGMT), James Rushent (Does It Offend You, Yeah?), and YACHT

Left to right: Eleanor Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces), Sophie (Care Bears on Fire), and Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT)

The campaign is spearheaded by Pharrell Williams (N.E.R.D.), Santogold, and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), who apparently bonded over their love of Chuck Taylors to pump out a thumping original collaborative track, “My Drive Thru”, best described by Converse as “Three Artists. One Song.“, which has been available for free download at the Converse website for the past month.

If you’re gonna call this selling out, it looks/sounds pretty good.

[edit 7/10, 1 pm]
Here’s the music video:

From Sophista-Funk.

Converse – My Drive Thru (for info)
Converse – Connectivity (to listen/download track)

A Night Out With Santogold

The NYTimes’ Sunday Styles section features Santi White this week in its “A Night Out With…” feature, in which she lays down some rules to live by:

“I DON’T drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke and I don’t drink after someone drinks my drink.” These are just some of the commandments prescribed and followed by Santi White, better known as the genre-hopping singer Santogold.

…The other night, Ms. White, 32, was sitting on the patio of Castro’s, a Mexican restaurant on Myrtle Avenue near her home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn… Drinking papaya-mango juice out of a bucket-size cup, Ms. White leaned against an orange wall beneath a cobalt sky dotted with cotton-ball clouds.

Ms. White’s ensemble was an ’80s salute: tight white pants, an oversize yellow shirt and black Reebok high-tops with rainbow stripes and a gold slash.

She poked at her fish with beans and rice without offering a bite to her companions. The two women reminisced about an impromptu lecture given by a drunken art teacher about how to push in your intestines, should they happen to fall out of your navel. They also recalled a harrowing escape: While working as a waitress, Ms. Roomet noticed a man entering the restaurant with a sawed-off shotgun; she summoned Ms. White, who was dining, and they escaped through the kitchen, taking the bewildered staff to safety.

Around 11 p.m. the gang headed across Brooklyn to the club Studio B in Ms. White’s black Escalade. (“I didn’t know what an S.U.V. was when I bought it,” she said.)

Ms. White had been put on the guest list by some D.J.’s who were performing, so they skipped to the front of a blocklong line. Once inside, Ms. White couldn’t find the guy with the wristbands that would get them into the V.I.P. room.

“I don’t go out much,” Ms. White said with a shrug, and wished she were home. The band playing showed no signs of ending (or improving). By 1 a.m., Ms. White could take no more; she would see the D.J.’s spin some other day.

In a few hours, Ms. White would begin a medically imposed vocal rest for at least a week. She had plans to carry a pad and pen to communicate, and possibly to scribble down a few more of her commandments.

NYTimes: Rules to Tour by: A Night Out With Santi White